Saturday, July 16, 2011

Moroccan Agave - Flowering Season

The Agave plants can be seen in many parts of Morocco and their most well known product, the "cactus silk" that is used in fabric making is famous. At the moment the plants are in flower and it is worth a visit to the countryside to take a look at the sea of yellow flowers on the hillsides.

The Agave only flowers once before it dies and some members of the same family may take decades before flowering. For example the Parry Agave flowers only after twenty-five years. In some parts of the world they are commonly called the "Century Plant".

While described by many as "agave cactus", this description is incorrect. The perennial plants not a cactus. The genus is placed in the subfamily Agavoideae of the broadly circumscribed family Asparagaceae. Looking at the huge spikes of flowers the "Asparagaceae" tag makes sense.

The plant has many uses other than the production of fibre. It is used to produce a nectar, skin lotions and much sort after as a landscaping plant by architects. Also, by the amount of bee activity, it must produce an interesting, if rare, honey.

1 comment:

Arty-fact said...

No matter how hard I search I cannot find a farm where cactus silk is made. It seems to be all over Morocco in spools and is woven it possible to find a farm to visit and see the process of making the sabra 'silk'.